How to Make Christmas Didukh
A workshop in Lviv taught people how to create their own old symbol of Christmas — the Didukh
While the Christmas tree is a symbol of the holiday season in most of the world, in Ukraine every house had a Didukh as protection from evil spirits.
According to the tradition, the Didukh is brought inside the house by the owner. Women usually sing carols.
“When we take the wheat, it is a symbol of harvest and goes with the Christian traditions well. It is universal. In the parable of the sower that Christ told of. Didukh was also mentioned in the old testament. This is a pagan symbol, but it gained Christian meaning,” religion scholar, Mykhailo Kobryn said.
A sheaf is assembled in the shape of a tree. It is decorated with different herbs. This Didukh is made in a more modern way. Masters call it a Christmas tree with fir branches and cones.
“We have also prepared these mounts for the Didukh, fir branches and the sheaf. Then we put in in the mount and tie them together. Later we take several fir branches and decorate it. And so we have a small copy of the didukh, that you can put at home for Christmas,” Didukh creating master, Volodymyr Mysholivskyi said.
Svitlana Yakymiv came to the Didukh making workshop together with her children. Her origins are in Belarus.
“We are very interested in ancient traditions. They are also maintained in Belarus. We are very happy and want to participate in real Christmas celebrations. I imagine a Didukh like a man, like a farmer that works a lot. I never made a Didukh myself, which is why it is so interesting to me,” she said.
Earlier, the Didukh had a much simpler in form. Mariya said it was made by her father.
“Earlier it was a sheaf of oats. We would choose the best stems and just tie them together. We had a family of three and before the dinner we would go to the barn and my parents would take the didukh. We would take straws. We would lay straw on the floor of the house and in the four corners we would place garlic. It was believed it would bring good health,” she said.
A small bouquet of wheat is placed in the corner of the room on Christmas Eve and stay there until the Baptism of Christ.